HSUS Hit by Federal Racketeering LawsuitOther Animal Rights Groups Named in Case
The parent company of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Feld Entertainment, Inc., recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and a group of other animal rights organizations under a law prohibiting racketeering.
The suit, filed on February 16, comes after Feld Entertainment spent close to a decade in litigation with HSUS, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Animal Protection Institute (API) and others over its treatment of elephants used for circus performances. The original litigation came after a former Ringling employee named
TomRider began making public appearances alleging abuses of the animals.
During the case brought by Rider and backed by the animal rights groups,
information was presented that indicated that Rider received numerous payments from the groups through a complex web of financial transactions. This information played a key role in U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to dismiss the case in December 2009. Judge Sullivan indicated that these payments represented Rider’s “sole source of income” throughout the duration of the case and that Rider did not have the legal standing to bring the suit.
In his decision, Judge Sullivan further stated, “The Court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony regarding the matters discussed herein, i.e., the allegations related to his standing to sue.”
These findings by Judge Sullivan prompted Feld Entertainment to file its own lawsuit claiming that HSUS and others were involved in racketeering or illegal business activities by financing Rider’s suit in order to advance an agenda that included ending the use of elephants in circuses.
According to the suit, Feld specifically states that the defendants “conspired to conduct and conducted the Enterprise through a pattern of, among other things, bribery and illegal gratuity payments (in violation of both state and federal law), obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.”;
Click Here to read the suit filed by Feld Entertainment.
Friday, February 26, 2010
This should be fun to watch. From the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance.